Gregory A. Curt, MD
1952 – 2016
Gregory A. Curt, MD, Former Clinical Director at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and nationally regarded expert on translational oncology died on July 31, 2016. He was 64 years old. Dr. Curt received his MD with distinction in research from the University of Rochester School of Medicine in 1977. He completed his training in internal medicine as an intern and resident at the New England Deaconess Hospital and as a Research Fellow at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Harvard Medical School.
Years at NCI
Dr. Curt completed his medical oncology training in the Medicine Branch of the National Cancer Institute from 1980 to 1983, following which he coordinated the intramural National Cancer Institute Phase I Cancer Drug Development Program. At that time, he performed the original testing of novel agents directed at high-grade glioma as well as phase I clinical trials. His basic research explored the molecular mechanisms of drug resistance in cancer cells. Dr. Curt served as Deputy Director of the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Treatment from 1985 to 1988, overseeing the Division’s extramural research grant and contract portfolios. He was appointed Clinical Director of the National Cancer Institute in 1989.
During his years as Clinical Director, Dr. Curt led the intramural program at the National Cancer Institute increasingly toward translational research involving new therapeutic modalities including anticancer drugs, immunotoxins, and vaccines. He was awarded the Outstanding Service Medal of the U.S. Public Health Service in 1992.
Dr. Curt joined AstraZeneca Oncology in 2002 as Senior Director and Alliance Manager for the National Institutes of Health. Under his leadership, AstraZeneca created important new partnerships with the National Cancer Institute in cancer drug development as well as cancer prevention and treatment including novel combinations.
Gregory A. Curt, MD
Dr. Curt served as U.S. Medical Science Lead for Strategic Alliances, Physician Lead for the U.S. Oncology Phase I Team, and U.S. Group Director for late-stage drug strategy in Global Medicines Development. At the time of his death, he was Executive Director for External Relations in U.S. Medical Affairs at AstraZeneca Oncology.
Tributes by Colleagues
As the news of his death reached his many friends and colleagues, tributes were posted on message boards and shared within the oncology community. One such offering that captured the spirit of many was from Richard Pazdur, MD, Head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Oncology Center of Excellence. “We here in the FDA have known Greg Curt throughout the years during his NCI service and work in private industry (AZ). Greg participated in numerous FDA programs and committees. My sentiments echo those of others in that I am proud to have worked with Greg throughout the many years. He will be missed.”
He was devoted to the task of improving cancer treatment, a unique contributor to the effort because of his ability to promote collaboration between basic researchers and clinical investigators as well as between industry and its counterparts in academia and government.— Bruce A. Chabner, MD
Another tribute came from Bruce A. Chabner, MD, Director of Clinical Research, Cancer Center, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Boston. “[Greg] was a wonderful colleague and friend. He was devoted to the task of improving cancer treatment, a unique contributor to the effort because of his ability to promote collaboration between basic researchers and clinical investigators as well as between industry and its counterparts in academia and government,” wrote Dr. Chabner.
He continued: “He found much joy in his close personal relationships with a host of friends at the National Cancer Institute, FDA, pharma, and cancer centers such as MGH. We all loved him and will miss him terribly.” ■